A Lionsgate comedy and an Amazon Studios TV series have pulled out of Georgia after the passage of a law prohibiting abortion once a fetal heartbeat is detected.
The Kristen Wiig movie “Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar” will not shoot in Georgia, a production source confirmed Tuesday. It and the Amazon Studios series “The Power” are the first projects to leave the state in protest of HB 481, which was signed by Gov. Brian Kemp on May 7 and, barring a legal challenge, is set to go into effect Jan. 1.
“The Power” and “Barb and Star” did not appear on a recent list of films and TV shows currently in production in the state. The Wiig movie is in pre-production, according to IMDb.
Due to generous tax incentives that started more than a decade ago, Georgia has become known as a production center that has hosted big-budget projects such as “The Hunger Games” and “Avengers: Infinity War” and TV shows including “The Walking Dead.”
“The collective decision taken by Sister Pictures and Reed Morano to cancel the planned scout to Georgia for The Power is a direct response to the signing of the ‘heartbeat bill’,” executive producers Jane Featherstone and Naomi de Pear said Tuesday in a statement.
“No production commitments have yet been made to shoot in any location in the U.S. We feel we have to stand up for a woman’s right to choose what happens to her body, and so while this is not a decision we have taken lightly, we feel strongly that it is the right one at this point in time,” they continued.
“We had no problem stopping the entire process instantly,” “The Power” director Reed Morano told Time, adding that there was “no way” her project would give its production money to Georgia. Location scouts had reportedly been working in Savannah, Ga., for several months in preparation for Morano’s arrival, Time reported.
“[I]t felt wrong to us to go ahead and make our show and take money/tax credit from a state that is taking this stance on the abortion issue. We just couldn’t do it,” Morano said on Instagram.
“The Power” is based on the Naomi Alderman book, where women have gained the physical ability to zap others with powerful jolts of electricity, shifting the power dynamic and turning the world into a matriarchy. Morano won a Primetime Emmy in 2017 and a Directors Guild Award in 2018 for directing “The Handmaid’s Tale,” another show with a feminist bent.
“Barb and Star” is a female-driven comedy about best friends who find themselves in over their heads when they take a first-ever vacation to Florida. It’s written by and stars Wiig and her “Bridesmaids” writing partner Annie Mumolo.
Because of the pending law, a handful of companies and celebrities have said in general that they will no longer work in Georgia. Morano was not immediately available for comment.
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